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Justine and the Curious Catacomb: Cat Clues, #4

Justine and the Curious Catacomb: Cat Clues, #4

Автором Ruth Hay

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Justine and the Curious Catacomb: Cat Clues, #4

Автором Ruth Hay

135 pages
1 hour
Feb 11, 2020


Has Justine settled down at last?

As a new homeowner and the custodian of three cats, Justine has a lot to learn. There are, however, aspects to this learning that she never could have imagined. Dr. Daniel Hudson is unexpectedly the one who unlocks the secrets of Journey's End for her.

Feb 11, 2020

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Justine and the Curious Catacomb - Ruth Hay



I truly never expected to find myself as a homeowner.

I was a rolling stone that gathers no moss, a wanderer free to go anywhere my work demanded, at any time.

No responsibilities.

No obligations.

No home maintenance.

That was before I gathered three cats around me.

Now, the cat thing was not new to me. I knew I had an affinity for cats. They found me wherever I laid my head, and that phenomenon started a very long time ago.

With some special cats, I could communicate.

With a very few, exceptional cats, they could communicate with me.

But how, I asked myself, how could I have managed in the last two years to meet an amazing Siamese in Scotland, who led me into adventures I could never have foreseen?

How could I have followed that with the rescue of a tiny little drowned catling who came alive with the beat of my heart, and is the closest thing to an actual child I will likely ever know?

How could I further complicate my life in England with a feral cat of unknown temperament, who was uncontrollable by anyone else?

Catrine, the brown tabby is the resurrected one.

Midnight, the dark and enigmatic, is the abandoned one.

And now, almost without any thought, I had taken on a third cat; Tabitha, a lovely orange tabby the resident cat who came with the house.

What was I thinking?

One cat is doable.

Two cats who are compatible, are possible.

Three cats are another thing entirely, as I was soon to discover.

The one good thing in this unplanned mess is the house I acquired.

Journey’s End is a beautiful, spacious, grand house in a lovely location near the sea, but far enough from the town of Perranporth on the North coast of Cornwall, that I have all the peace and quiet I crave while the amenities I need are close at hand.

I suppose the house called to me in some mysterious way. I was no sooner inside its impressive porch than I was captivated. When the owners, Owen and Kay Abercrombie announced that they were thinking of selling up and moving to Wales, I jumped at the opportunity to buy my first home.

Had I seen all the rooms and inspected the facilities? No.

Had I asked about the age of the place? No.

Had I expressed interest in the heating or the sanitation systems? No.

Had I quibbled about the price? Not at all.

I was under some kind of influence that removed all fear and doubt from my mind. When Tabitha jumped onto my lap, it was like a sign and seal that this, is where I was meant to be.

Gaining most of the fine furnishings was the icing on the cake, as it were. In my peripatetic life, I had acquired very few belongings, certainly not the kind of furniture a house of this standing required.

In a matter of a few days, The Abercrombies moved out and away, and I was the sole owner.

It was all like a fantastic dream until the day I awoke in my fine new bed in the master suite and found a catfight of huge proportions going on around me.


Daniel Hudson, the travelling vet, had offered to help me move in right after Christmas.

He had no idea that my luggage consisted of a very few clothes and some items for the cats, but I was glad of his assistance for another reason. Dan had mentioned over Christmas dinner at my mother’s house in Exeter, that he knew Journey’s End from years before, when he spent time there with the son of the house, Jeremy Abercrombie. I hoped he could show me around, and also assess Tabitha and the prospects of merging my two-cat family into a threesome.

I had left Catrine and Midnight with my mother and Oliver for a day or two while I settled in, so I was still in the early stages of accustoming to being a homeowner when Dan arrived at my front door with a bouquet of winter blossoms.

Oh, please come inside, Dan. I am very glad to see you. This place is huge and I have lots of questions for you. Oh, thank you for the flowers! I am sure there’s a cupboard here somewhere, with a set of crystal vases to suit all types of bouquets.

Dan laughed at my confusion. He shrugged off his winter coat and went straight to the hall closet to hang it up, demonstrating that he knew more about this house than I did.

Tabitha appeared at once to greet the visitor and I saw that she and Dan were acquainted.

He bent down to scratch her head and explained.

The Abercrombies brought her to the Vet Van shortly after they bought her from a local farmer. They were worried about fleas or mites infesting their lovely home. I am happy to say Tabitha was clean and insect free and she looks in fine health still.

One problem solved!

Dan, I have brought you here under false pretences. The truth is that I have moved in already. I own nothing in the furniture line. My belongings occupy two drawers and three hangers in the wardrobe upstairs. That’s it!

He laughed again with a deep chuckle that came from his chest.

Well, unless I am mistaken, this home is very well supplied with the essentials. The Abercrombies bought it as an estate house so the original furnishings and most of the china and crystal were part of the sale.

I see. That explains why it all fits beautifully as if in place for many years. Do you know who the original builders of the house were?

No, that’s well before my time. I know Jeremy and his two sisters were warned to be very careful with everything in here, as it was all very valuable. That’s probably why they found safe places where they could play and make a mess without their parents knowing.

That sounds interesting! I want you to give me the tour but first, let’s have some tea or coffee.

Kay Abercrombie had left a covered plate in the kitchen with home baked muffins and biscuits. She also left me milk and bread.

Yesterday, I went into Perranporth and shopped for cat food and anything I saw to feed myself for a few days. My shopping still sat unopened on the countertops in the kitchen. I did not know where they belonged. There were too many storage choices. It was just another thing I had to decide about in a long list of things.

I made coffee and offered muffins. While Dan ate and drank, I peppered him with questions.

He was observant and knowledgeable. He told me there was a septic system for waste disposal in a tank buried in the garden. The electricity came from a generator in a garden shed equipped with a solar panel for emergencies. The water supply was stored inside the house and fed from a fresh water stream that trickled down from the hills behind the property. This water source had never yet been known to fail.

My face must have shown my surprise. Dan stopped and asked what he had missed.

Good grief! You know more about this house than I would have discovered in years! I feel like an idiot, taking on such a responsibility when I have no clue how to function here.

You’ll catch on fast, Justine. Don’t worry! Remember, it’s all yours now. Do whatever you want to make it comfortable.

Tabitha came by at this moment reminding me to ask Dan about merging my cats into Tabitha’s domain.

His advice was to take it slowly and not force friendship upon them.

"Be conscious of territorial rights. It might never be the great, happy threesome, you are hoping for.

If anyone can accomplish this, you, Justine Jordan, are the very one. You have exceptional talents I still know little about."

This was reassuring.

Accompanied by Tabitha, Dan led me through my house and pointed out features he had known from years before. There were four bedrooms, three of which still retained evidence of the Abercrombie children. Dan marvelled at Jeremy’s room, looking out over the rear garden and the hills beyond.

I spent many happy hours in here with my school pal. We went off to post-secondary education in two different areas so our friendship waned, but I never forgot how Jeremy and his sisters managed to find child zones inside this elegant establishment.

Tell me about that!

Dan’s handsome face took on a look of sheer delight and the years of responsible adulthood dropped off leaving a younger version of him that had a devilish appeal.

Follow me, he invited.

I did.


Dan soon introduced me to an attic access, concealed inside a closet on the second floor, where all the bedrooms were. This required me to climb a wooden stepladder that vanished upward into darkness.

Immediately my right leg began to protest. Even Dan had some difficulty

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